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May 08 www.bus-ex.com 67 In 2002, XL Construction was working on an interior laboratory build-out for a Bay Area biotechnology firm. The 66,000-square-foot laboratory and office project began as an ordinary tenant improvement project, but during the early phases of the project, XL’s client was suddenly acquired and in turn merged with a larger pharmaceutical company. “Just as we were about to embark on construction, the new owners announced all new projects would have to be designed and built to achieve at least a USGBC (US Green Building Council) LEED Silver rating,” recalls Alan Laurlund, project executive with the 16-yearold firm based in Milpitas, California. Although the architect, DES Architects+Engineers was familiar with green building and the USGBC’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards, XL found itself taking the initiative to gain the knowledge necessary to move the project forward. Laurlund and XL’s in-house MEP coordinator took a quick course in LEED standards, which were in pilot stages for commercial interior projects, and applied them to the project. In the end, the building won LEED Gold status, going above and beyond what the client had requested. The laboratory facility was the first of its kind to earn a Gold rating for the USGBC’s commercial interiors program. Laurlund credits the owner with taking a leadership role and helping to set the tone among project owners in the Bay Area. “At the time, very few in the private sector were eager to four to five years due to energy saving costs and reduced water permit fees, he adds. be out front pushing green because of the added cost,” he says. “They really took a step out there that others weren’t willing to take yet, and that has helped get others to take notice.” In calculations that XL did for the company, the upfront costs were paid back within four to five years due to cost savings period. XL, meanwhile, found itself with a strong level of expertise in a rapidly emerging and growing field. The firm, which has 200 employees and had 2007 revenues of around $200 million, has continued to build on what it learned from that project and last year was named one of the top 50 Green Contractors in the United States by Engineering News-Record. XLConstruction XL Construction gained its first LEED building exposure by chance and has quickly become one of the top construction firms in the country for green-minded clients, as Keith Regan learns Green bydesign